Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday extended the suspension of scheduled international flights to and from the country till September 30. However, the restriction does not affect the operation of international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.
“International scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” noted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in a circular.
Scheduled international passenger services continue to remain barred in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Domestic passenger flight services resumed in the country from May 25, two months after the announcement of the lockdown and suspension of all scheduled commercial passenger flights in India.
To allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the Covid-19 health crisis, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had also announced ‘ Air Bubble’ agreements with the United States, France and Germany. Special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May.
In an online Idea Exchange event of The Indian Express, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that much of the pre-Covid domestic air passenger traffic could be restored by Diwali. “With Mumbai hopefully having Covid numbers under control, the graph stable and coming down, I’m hoping that after the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, we will open up Mumbai more; Bengaluru, Kolkata will be a little less sporadic. We will be looking to touch the 50% mark before too long,” he said.
International flights, Puri said, will depend on the behaviour of the virus. “I cannot anticipate whether countries will allow people from India in, but we have gone ahead and made the best out of a very difficult situation, navigated through turbulence, and today we have air bubbles with the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany. I have announced 13 more,” he said.